Your Guide to the Perfect Camping Menu
This was a post I put on facebook last week and it had so much interest that I’ve even had people coming back to me asking where they can find it again, so I thought I would create a blog so you could keep coming back.
We’ve recently been away camping (unfortunately we were rained out half way through!) but I thought this might be useful if you’re still heading away, to see how I planned our meals and the preparation I did before we left which made cooking so much easier!
Camping for us is rather a big event, we have a huge tent (which was such a god send in the rain!) and we have the absolute works (my husband likes to be completely self-sufficient so we don’t need to use any of the camp ground facilities). So just imagine the Clampett’s, we’ve got a trailer loaded to the hilt, including the bikes on the back, the kids can hardly see out as they’ve got so much stuff packed around them but there always seems so much to take… every year we say, “Ok, lets just take the bare minimum but it never seems to work!”
I’m still sussing out the best way to manage the chilly bins as in the intense heat, ice just doesn’t last that long and a pet hate of mine is my vegetables going soggy in the bottom of the chilly bin in defrosted ice! (Salt ice definitely lasts longer though if you have that option). So we currently take two large chilly bins (one for the frozen’s and one for fruit and vegetables) but I also insisted this year that we purchase a wee gas fridge for the everyday chilled items, which was another godsend!
We vacuum pack all our meat before we leave, (and some dairy products like cheese, we even tried lettuce but that didn’t work so don’t bother!) and then freeze it so it’s completely frozen when we leave. Although the meat defrosts, the vacuum packing makes it last longer.
Other things I do before we leave is make a Spiced Banana & Walnut Loaf, I’ll take some homemade biscuits and I’ll also pre toast some nuts and seeds to throw onto a salad, which adds a bit extra to a camping salad! I’ll also take fresh herbs out of the garden in bags, which will last 3-4 days.
This year we took seven nights worth of meat, which had we been able to stay, it would have been perfect.
On the menu was:
Day 1: Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala and rice (I pre-made this and froze it so we just had to reheat it on the first night)
Day 2: Thai Pork Larb with chopped vegetables (or rice) and corn (I pre-made the dressing/flavouring and took it in a jar which worked perfectly!). This one was a winner with everyone. (See link to recipe below).
Day 3: Nachos (recipe out of my 21 Day Marvelous Lunchbox Makeover if you have it) – so easy, and we just sprinkled grated cheese over the top
Day 4: Marinated Steak with new potatoes, broccoli and salad
(I bought a box of baby new potatoes that were pre-washed and they were so easy, and being baby potatoes they cooked quickly). We also vacuum packed the steak with the marinade in it, which was amazing!
Day 5: Sausages, Potatoes, Corn & Salad (I’m not a great lover of sausages so I made a creation of Watties Moroccan Chickpeas, added some cut up chicken thighs and served it on gluten free pasta and salad. (Weirdly, we never eat pasta at home but for some reason, it’s the perfect camping food!)
Day 6: Butterflied Whole Chicken with a Cajun rub, rice and salad (leftovers perfect for lunches the next day). We bought this from the Grey Lynn Butcher in Auckland.
Day 7: Meatballs, Tomato Pasta Sauce on gluten free pasta (prior to vacuum packing the mince, I made the meatball mixture (onion, garlic, mint, cumin, lemon juice etc.) so it was all ready to go and I just had to form it into balls before cooking in the pasta sauce.
Day 8: Chilli Con Carne with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado in pita pockets.
So there you have it, this is was our menu for the week.
Other great dinner ideas are:
- Meatballs, satay sauce, and rice (pre-make the satay sauce, along with the pre-made meatball mixture)
- Chicken wraps
- Pad Thai – super easy for camping! Recipe also in my ’21 Day Marvelous Lunchbox Makeover’ cookbook
- Fried rice or a Rice Paella (two fantastic one pot wonders!)
- Thai Beef Salad (pre-make the dressing)
Lunches we either had fresh sandwiches, toasted sandwiches (in the frying pan), wraps, pita pockets, and since I’m gluten free, I had wholegrain rice wafers with hummus, tomato, cucumber, tuna and avocado.
To get you started, click here for the Thai Pork Larb recipe (also out of my 21 Day Marvelous Lunchbox Makeover cookbook). I pre-made the flavouring from the ginger to the apple cider vinegar and put it all in a jar. I also pre toasted the peanuts so they were ready to go. You’ll need to adjust the method to suit how much you do prior. The other alternative is to serve it on rice or will chopped up vegetables.
I hope that gives you a few ideas to make your upcoming holiday seem a little less daunting!
Leave a comment if you find this helpful and please share if you know this would be valuable to others – I’d also love to know what your favourite camping meals are!
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